ACC Opening Weekend Preview

It’s here! It’s here!!

Finally, after roughly eight months, college basketball returns tomorrow with a huge slate of games. The ACC alone has 20 games this weekend with six teams playing two games and Duke is actually playing on back to back nights. Florida State is the only team that won’t play, they open their season on 11/14 against George Washington. Pitt is the only team that will open the season on an opponents home court, playing at Navy for the Veterans Classic. Georgia Tech opens the season against UCLA in China.

Here is the complete schedule courtesy of the worldwide leader in everything other than sports:

 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV RESOURCES
6:00 PM Detroit Mercy at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM Northern Iowa at #9 North Carolina
Preview | Tickets
7:00 PM Cornell at Syracuse ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM VMI at NC State ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM Western Carolina at Clemson ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM Elon at #1 Duke ACC Network Extra Preview | Tickets
7:00 PM UNC Greensboro at Virginia ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:30 PM Maine at Boston College ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:30 PM Georgia Southern at Wake Forest ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
8:00 PM Gardner-Webb at #13 Miami ACC Network Extra Preview | Tickets
9:00 PM Pittsburgh at Navy CBS Sports Network Conversation | Tickets
11:30 PM Georgia Tech vs #21 UCLA
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV RESOURCES
4:00 PM #14 Notre Dame at DePaul FOX Sports 1 Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM Utah Valley at #1 Duke
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV RESOURCES
1:00 PM South Carolina State at Boston College ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
2:00 PM North Carolina A&T at Clemson ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
2:00 PM George Mason at #16 Louisville ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
4:00 PM Navy at #13 Miami ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
4:00 PM Charleston Southern at NC State ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets
7:00 PM The Citadel at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra Conversation | Tickets

I want to take a look at a few of the more intriguing match ups real quick.

UNI @ UNC

Northern Iowa struggled last year, and lost two of their top 5 scorers , but they had some young guys logging heavy minutes. I fully expect Carolina to win, but without Joel Berry running the show I think Ben Jacobson’s team can keep it close for a half. Prediction: UNC by 21

UNCG @ Virgina

UNC-Greensboro visiting Virginia is also really interesting. Virginia turned over their roster in the off season, Kyle Guy is becoming…the Guy, after the graduation of London Perrantes. DeAndre Hunter and Jay Huff haven’t played a meaningful game in a year and a half. Ty Jerome has a ton of pre-season hype. UNCG is coming off a 25-10 season under Wes Miller who has built this program from the ground up. The Spartans did lose two of their top three scorers, but they do return Francisco Alonso who led the team at 15 ppg. The thing I like most about this match-up is UNCG doesn’t mind playing slow. The Spartans were 240th in adjusted tempo last season according to KenPom. The deciding factor in this game is going to be how they defend Virginia. Tony Bennetts team was one of the most efficient teams offensively in the country last year and UNCG ranked 173 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Prediction: UVA 54 UNCG 49

Georgia Southern at Wake Forest

Anyone who follows this blog knows, I am a huge fan of this Wake Forest back court. Chaundee Brown is one of my favorite prospects in the 2017 class, and Bryant Crawford is one of my favorite players in the country. They are going to be tested early by the Eagles of Georgia Southern who return EVERYONE from an 18 win team in 2016-17. Ike Smith and Tookie Brown are a pair of guards that can really fill it up and the one thing that Danny Manning’s teams have struggled with is defending the perimeter. This is my pick to be the most entertaining game of the weekend in the ACC. Prediction: Wake 79 GSU 71

Georgia Tech vs UCLA from China

What a shit show this trip turned out to be. Georgia Tech gets nailed with a story about impermissible benefits provided to suspended wing players Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie by a Pastner acquaintance who felt slighted so he then released photos of the two college students hanging out by his pool. A 50 year old ex-convict recovering addict flies two college students out to his home to hang out by his pool while he takes pictures of them. That’s not creepy. Off course Pastner is conveniently gallivanting through Asia when the story is released and his side of the story has yet to be told.

Not to be outdone, in a real “hold my beer” moment,  three UCLA freshman get busted for shoplifting from Louis Vuitton on the trip. Jalen Hill and Cody Riley are both nice four star front court players who will not be available for this game. Riley is expected to be a big time contributor so his absence will really hurt. Also involved and suspended was LiAngelo Ball.

So what would have been a really nice game from Shanghai has turned into a game where one team has hardly any front court depth, and one team is missing two of their top three players.  Expect Aaron Holiday to have a huge game going up against a young Jackets back court. Keep your eyes on Kris Wilkes during this game, he is a future star in Westwood. Prediction: UCLA 67 GT 52

A couple of other things to watch this weekend:

  • How Louisville plays. David Padgett has said that he will play Pitino type basketball, which means tough, in your face defense. He has rounded out his staff with Greg Paulus and former Shaka Smart Graduate Assistant RJ Evans to go along with former LSU, Nevada, Stanford and TCU head coach Trent Johnson. The Evans hire points to an uptempo defense as Smart runs the very popular “Havoc” defense.
  • Will Brad Brownell let the big dog eat? Clemson has a  good roster. They have some guys that can score the ball. He needs to loosen the reigns a little bit. Playing the same style of losing basketball and wasting Jaron Blossomgame’s entire career has to have convinced him to adapt right? Right?!
  • Markell Johnson. This is one of my guys to be a breakout player this year, and he gets two games at PNC against cupcakes to take a step towards that prophecy. Look for him establish himself as the leader of this program this weekend, providing NC State fans a reason to take to twitter and revert back to thinking they are the equal to their Triangle neighbors.
  • Will Chris Clarke play? He played 5 minutes in VT’s exhibition game the other night, and I saw a video (that I can’t fucking find anywhere) of him doing some kind of spartan training or something, and he was going full bore. I expect against these opponents he will play very sparingly in the first game, and probably not at all in the second.
  • I can’t wait to watch Miami play. They might beat Navy by one hundred, thousand points. Not really, that would be inappropriate. But, Lonnie Walker apparently looked really good in the exhibition and not hobbled so, hot damn, they are going to come out of the gate blistering teams.

I will check back in on Saturday with thoughts on the results and with another Recruiting Roundup on Sunday morning. Enjoy it people! It’s finally here.

 

-Cone

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